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Here's How Ferguson Police Use Dogs On Town Residents

Ferguson police "have exclusively set their dogs against black individuals, often in cases where doing so was not justified by the danger presented," according to a Department of Justice report investigation released Wednesday.

Posted on March 4, 2015, at 2:56 p.m. ET

Robert Cohen / AP

Ferguson police officers during a protest in August 2014.

The Department of Justice's investigation into the Ferguson Police Department found that its use of dogs is "part of its pattern of excessive force in violation of the Fourth Amendment."

The investigation also found that Ferguson police use "dog bites only against African-American subjects is evidence of discriminatory policing in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment and other federal laws."

During one incident, police used dogs to attack an unarmed fourteen-year-old.


The boy told the investigators "he never hid in a storage space and he never

heard any police warnings."

Another incident involved a sixteen year old suspected of stealing a car who was hiding in a closet.


The Department of Justice concluded "this force appears objectively unreasonable."

A Ferguson officer once used a dog on a suspect he had already searched and found to have no weapons. The department justified it saying the officer still feared the suspect was armed.


The report concludes that Ferguson police "appear to use canines not to counter a physical threat but to inflict punishment. "


The report states that, based on "available records," Ferguson police "have exclusively set their dogs against black individuals, often in cases where doing so was not justified by the danger presented."

The report recommends more strict rules on the use of canines by Ferguson police.

The Department of Justice said that "recommendations and other measures" will be "be part of a court-enforceable remedial process that includes involvement from community stakeholders as well as independent oversight."

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A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.